There is nothing more quintessentially British than an afternoon tea with traditional English scones with jam and cream.
This basic scone recipe was probably one of the first things I learned to bake as a child and learning how to bake scones is something that I have already passed on to my own children.
Making scones from scratch is really easy, but most importantly, scones taste best when they are absolutely fresh, so homemade scones are by far superior to anything you can buy.
Scones are also easy and quick to make. My dad would often rustle some up last minute if they had friends coming round to visit in an afternoon.
They also don't use any unusual ingredients, so they are a good store cupboard treat. I hope you enjoy this English scone recipe as much as my family does!
Have a Thermomix? You can try out my Thermomix Scone Recipe here.
What is a scone?
A scone is a baked treat traditionally served for afternoon tea in England. Kind of like a cross between a cake and bread roll, they are best served freshly baked with jam and cream.
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How to make scones
There is a very specific way to make scones, and I'm going to break it down step by step here. It's not difficult, you just need to follow the steps.
In fact it's so easy to follow this simple scone recipe that my 7-year old sous chef is going to demonstrate!
Firstly - you need to put the cold butter into flour and mix it in quickly with your fingers. This is similar to how you would make pastry.
Use the tips of your fingers and lightly rub in the butter until there are no large lumps of butter left in the bowl.
Next, stir in the sugar and salt.
Then, using a knife (I use an icing spatula for this), stir in the milk, little by little.
As the mixture starts to form a dough, rub some flour on your hands and then finish mixing it all in with your hands, to bring the dough together into a ball. (Kids love doing this bit!)
If it feels bit too sticky, add a little more flour. If it feels a bit dry, add a drop more milk.
Now turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll it out to around 1 inch thick.
Once you have rolled it out, take a pastry cutter and cut out shapes from the dough and put onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Once you have cut out as many shapes as you can get from the dough, bring it all together again and roll it out again to cut some more shapes. Keep doing this until you have used up all the dough.
Now you just need to put the scones in a pre-heated oven and bake them for around 12 minutes.
How to Serve Scones
Traditionally you should serve scones with clotted cream and jam (that's jelly if you live in North America!). They should also be enjoyed with a cup of tea (with milk in of course). Tea and scones... perfect!
It is not always that easy to get hold of clotted cream, particularly outside of the UK. If you can't get clotted cream, then whipping up some double cream is a pretty good substitute. If you really can't get cream, you could also use butter, but it honestly doesn't quite cut it.
Now here's a debate that's as old as scones and cream... which order do you put the toppings on scones? Cream then jam? Or jam then cream?
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Ask people from England and you'll often get a different answer... and each person will insist that he/she is doing it the right way! So what is the right way?
The answer depends where in England you come from. Traditionally scones are served as part of a cream tea in the counties of Devon and Cornwall in the Southwest of England. In Devon, they serve scones with cream then jam, but in Cornwall, they do it the other way round - jam then cream.
I went to school in Somerset and had most of my cream teas there or in Devon, so I have adopted the Devonshire way of doing things, as you will see in the photos. But... it's up to you, I'm pretty sure it tastes delicious either way!
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Traditional English Scones
- Non-Stick Baking Pan
- Round Pastry Dough Cutter
- Rolling Pin
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C / 425F
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
- Cut the butter up into small pieces and drop into the bowl with the flour. Now using your fingertips, gently and quickly rub the butter into the flour until there are no more large lumps left.
- Next, stir in the sugar and salt.
- Now, using a knife stir in the milk, little by little.
- Once the mixture starts to form a dough, rub some flour onto your hands and use them to bring the dough together into a ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and use a lightly floured rolling pin to gently roll out the dough to around 1 inch thick.
- Use a round cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the dough and transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
- Once you have cut out as many shapes as you can get from the dough, bring it all together again and roll it out again to cut some more shapes. Keep doing this until you have used up all the dough.
- Put the scones in the oven and bake for around 12 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving with cream and jam.